Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Spring Awakening - Steven Sater

spring awakening
steven sater
c. 2007
94 pages
completed 2/23/2009

*may contain spoilers*

I love Love LOVE this show. LOVE IT. I heard previews for it on the radio and liked the sound of the music and so bought the soundtrack on itunes. And I love it. But I haven't been able to see it (that's a slight lie) so I had to read it instead. Spring Awakening is a Broadway musical based off a German play of the same name written in the 1890's by Frank Wedekind. It was banned for years, decades even, for how controversial the subject matter was. Even now, the new show is somewhat controversial and in some places graphic.

Both the original and new play are about adolescence and the joys and horrors that go along with it. The story follows intelligent rebel Melchior (who quests for truth and questions authority), his innocent and curious love Wendla (who is an aunt for the second time and still doesn't know where babies come from), his tragic and hopeless best friend Moritz (who is so freaked out by his own puberty that he needs Melchior to explain sex to him in essay form), and all their friends. Everything that could possibly happen to adolescent kids does, from the everyday troubles at school, puberty, and learning about love and sex, to the more horrifying abortion, sexual abuse, and suicide. The story's beautiful and sad and still very relevant despite originating and taking place in 1890.

There are a lot of things I like about this play. I like that the songs don't forward the story much at all. Instead they act as inner monologues, a way for the characters to express their true feelings of frustration and joy. I like how things happen simultaneously onstage when they don't happen that way in reality. I don't think that made sense. For example: Moritz fails out of school and asks Melchior's mother for money to run away to America. On one side of the stage we see and hear Frau Gabor writing a reply to Moritz, during which, on the other side of the stage, we see and hear Moritz reading and reacting to said letter. An interesting touch.

There were certain things that were changed from the original play to the new play, things that I think made certain characters more sympathetic and likable. In the original, nobody really likes Moritz except Melchior, but now all his classmates are his friends. In the original Melchior kind of rapes Wendla, but now their sex is consensual. Which is good.

I was surprised when I read it how funny it was. There is a lot of sadness and tragedy in this play, but there is also a lot of humor. Especially boy sex humor. Which I guess is expected from a play about puberty. For example, one of the boys masturbates in his bathroom and keeps being interrupted by his father. Funny. My favorite line in the show is from Moritz telling Melchior how desperately he wants puberty to stop so he can just concentrate on life, "Last night I prayed like Chirst in Gethsemane: Please God, give me consumption and take these sticky dreams away from me!" 


So, before I said I've never seen the show which is true, but is also a lie because I have managed to find a bootleg of the entire thing on youtube. Yea youtube! So for your enjoyment here is a clip of the show featuring the scene containing my favorite line and my second favorite song ("Touch Me"). It's not super awesome quality (seeing as it is bootlegged!), but you get the idea. And the second clip is the official Spring Awakening music video (I didn't know they made music videos), which is the song "The Bitch of Living." And is much better quality. Enjoy!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.